Tampa Bay Sports Day

NFL: Prater’s Winning Kick Beats Bucs in Final Seconds, 24-21

Detroit QB Matthew Stafford completed all five of his pass attempts on Detroit’s final drive, positioning Matt Prater for a game-winning 46-yard field goal with 20 seconds remaining for a 24-21 victory over Tampa Bay (4-9)  at Raymond James Stadium.

“Five turnovers, (it’s) going to be tough to win with five turnovers,” Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter said. “Stafford gets the ball out of his hand. But 44 pass attempts and you don’t ever get him on the ground.

The Bucs scored their first touchdown of the game in the first quarter, when Doug Martin rushed in for a one-yard score, finishing an 11-play, 75-yard drive lasting 2:51. Martin’s touchdown is his 28th career touchdown from scrimmage, tying Warrick Dunn for the fifth-most in franchise history.

In the fourth quarter, QB Jameis Winston connected with O.J. Howard on a two-yard touchdown pass, finishing off a 10-play, 75-yard drive that lasted 4:30. Howard now has five touchdown catches on the season, tied for the fourth-most by a rookie in franchise history.

Winston threw his second touchdown of the day later in the fourth quarter, a two-yard score to Leonard Wester, capping off a six-play, 72-yard drive lasting 2:06. Wester is the first Bucs’ offensive lineman to catch a touchdown pass since 2013.

Winston finished the game going with 26-of-38 (68.4 pct.) for 285 yards, with two touchdowns. He now has 14 touchdown passes this season and 64 in his career. His 64 career touchdown passes are the ninth-most by a player though their first three seasons.

Winston’s 64 touchdown passes are tied with Brad Johnson for the fifth-most in team history.

Stafford completed 36-of-44 passes for 381 yards and one touchdown. Meanwhile, running back Theo Riddick had a pair of scoring runs for the Lions (7-6).

“It was a process all week to get ready to play,” Stafford said. “Our training staff did an unbelievable job. It was huge for us to win on the road. Anytime you get a road win in this league, it’s big.

Detroit’s defense forced five turnovers, including two that led to a pair of touchdowns.

“It’s frustrating because they couldn’t stop us,” said Winston, who threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. “Three turnovers by me. I didn’t play (well).”

GAME NOTES:  Bucs’ linebacker Lavonte David forced a fumble from Lions Eric Ebron, which David recovered. David now has five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries this season, both career highs…. The Buccaneers got their second takeaway of the game with under two minutes to go in the first half, after Brent Grimes intercepted a pass from Lions QB Matthew Stafford at the Tampa Bay 20-yard line. Grimes has 20 interceptions since the start of the 2013 season, tied for the most in the NFL during that span. His 33 career interceptions are the fifth-most among active players….Tampa Bay’s third takeaway of the first half came with just 19 seconds remaining in the first half, with Robert McClain intercepting a pass from Stafford at the Buccaneers’ 19-yard line. McClain now has three interceptions this season, a career high. He has seven career interceptions….Over the past two seasons, Tampa Bay’s defense has been one of the best in the NFL at taking the ball away, ranking second in the NFL in takeaways, while leading the league in both forced fumbles and fumble recoveries, and tying for the fourth-most interceptions….Mike Evans had two catches for 25 yards in the game. He now has 4,338 career receiving yards, passing WR Vincent Jackson for the third-most in franchise history. Evans also passed Julio Jones for the 10th-most receiving yards in a players’ first four seasons since 1970….The Bucs had 28 first downs, tied for the fifth-most in a game in franchise history.